In this article we look at the different levels of storm warnings and what you can do to keep your home safe during a storm.

Weather proofing your home can make all the difference when a bad storm hits. As important as it is to have suitable property insurance in place, consider steps to help prevent having to claim in the first place.

What do the Met Office weather warnings mean?

You may be familiar with the naming of storms, but do you understand the Met Office weather warnings and what precautions you should take when they are issued?

Here’s what to expect from a yellow, amber or red weather warning:

Yellow: Yellow means that you should plan ahead thinking about possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day-to-day activities. It can be issued for a range of weather situations.

Amber: Amber means you need to be prepared to be impacted by severe weather. This could mean road and rail closures and power cuts. You may need to make plans to ensure your safety and that of your family and community from the impacts of the severe weather based on the forecast from the Met Office.

Red: This means dangerous weather is expected, so you need to take action. You should avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

When issuing such weather warnings, the Met Office often announce high winds and a risk of flooding are expected, so we’ve put this storm checklist together. Anything you can do ahead of time or on the day to minimise the misery of storm damage is time well spent.

Be ready for high winds

  • Get a professional to check your roof is in good condition. If you have a chimney, this can include checking the pointing is in good condition too. Ask them to also check your aerial and satellite dishes are secure.
  • Seek the advice of a tree surgeon and cut down any loose or overhanging branches in your garden, particularly any close to windows and power lines.
  • Keep gutters free of debris and check that the brackets are not rusted, or they might break loose.
  • Check that brackets are fixed securely to the fascia board, particularly if the fascia board is showing signs of decay.
  • Park cars in the garage if you have one.
  • Stay indoors until the storm has passed.


When the Met Office issues a warning

  • Ensure all garden furniture, children’s toys, and any other loose objects are stored away or secured to the ground to protect your windows.
  • Check outdoor signs are tightly anchored and secure.
  • Secure any loose panels on fencing and garden gates.

What you can do if the Met Office issues a flood warning

  • Put temporary flood protection measures in place, e.g. cover air bricks with sandbags. Don’t leave this too late – flooding can happen very quickly.
  • Put sandbags in toilet bowls to prevent sewage back-flow.
  • Gather essential items upstairs or in a high place. This can include torches, a first aid kit, a battery-operated radio, warm and waterproof clothing, and a supply of clean water
  • For blocks of flats and HMOs, ground floor occupants might need to be moved to a higher storey.
  • If you have time and it’s safe to do so, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies before flood water enters your building.

Remind everyone never to touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.

Blocks of Flats Insurance from Gallagher

We understand that cover and price are important to you, and we will search our panel of well-known insurers to help find you suitable protection. Use our quote form or call us on 0800 612 8631 for a quote.

If the worst happens and you need to make a claim, you can contact our UK-based in-house claims team to help you through what can be a stressful time.

We also have a guide to storm damage to provide you with extra information.

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.